The Yacht Britannia, was built by Henderson’s on the Clyde in 1893 for Queen Victoria’s son Albert Edward, then Prince of Wales. She served him and his son, King George V, with a long yachting and racing career.
After the Prince of Wales’ nephew Kaiser Wilhelm II acquired the racing cutter Thistle in 1891, her Scottish designer George Lennox Watson received a commission from Prince Albert Edward for a sailing yacht in 1892. He designed His Royal Highness’ Yacht “Britannia” to the “Length And Sail Area Rule” as a First Class cutter, and had her built alongside his America’s Cup challenger Valkyrie II at the D&W Henderson Yard on the River Clyde. She was launched on April 20, 1893, a week ahead of Valkyrie II.
Both designer and builder made a fine job of the Prince’s new yacht. It was said of Britannia that ‘a better-balanced and better-built vessel never crossed the starting line.’ Yachting writers referred to her shape as ‘the Britannia ideal’.
She was a handsome vessel! Henderson’s built her light and strong, a perfect race yacht. Yachting journalist James Meikle once wrote: “So proud over the building of her were the men that the putting of her together was a real labour of love. Really it was not difficult to imagine that the framework was woven together, so beautifully were the many parts joined into and onto each other.”
Built of wooden planking over steel frames, she had a major refit in 1931 where she was transformed by a Bermudan rig. Made of silver spruce, it was the largest mast ever made as one spar for a yacht, weighing over 3 tons.
During her racing career, which spanned over 40 years, in 635 races she won 231 firsts out of a total of 350 prizes. By the end of her first year’s racing, Britannia had scored thirty-three wins from forty-three starts. In her second season, she won all seven races for the big class yachts on the French Riviera, and then beat the 1893 America’s Cup defender Vigilant in home waters.
In January 1936 the British people mourned as King George V passed away. It was announced that in accordance with the late King’s wishes upon his death, Britannia would be stripped of her spars and fittings and scuttled. So on the 10th of July 1936, her hull was picked up by HMS Winchester (L55) and towed out to St. Catherine’s Deep near the Isle of Wight. There she was scuttled and sent to rest beneath the waves, with a simple garland of flowers placed on her stem-head.
This fate marked the end of big yacht racing in Europe, with the smaller and more affordable International Rule 12-Meter Class gaining popularity.
In 1994 the only replica of Britannia was commissioned and built in Russia, gaining Her Majesty’s blessing. Her then owner, Mr. Coates, shipped her from Russia to Norway in 2009, but unfortunately the completion of the project came to a standstill. It was not until late 2011, that Britannia was acquired a UK company, K1 Britannia, for the purpose of completing her rebuild and so that she could be used for charitable projects.
Britannia was towed from Norway and arrived in the Isle of Wight on the 4th of February 2012, where she was lifted and placed in her cradle, where she sits today at Venture Quays, East Cowes. The reconstruction process has commenced with a full stripping of the interior, and then a thorough process will begin to refit the yacht to her exact requirements and specifications.
Britannia will be fully restored to her pristine condition at her new home. Her former namesake was privileged to be tagged as “The King’s Yacht”, and her reconstruction will be similarly worthy of Royal approval. She will once again be legendary and rekindle memories of a world where nobility and honor were the norm. She will be rebuilt according to her 1931 specification when the original Britannia was refitted with a Bermuda rig and converted to the J-Class. Upon completion, she will have the largest wooden mast in the world!
K1 Britannia will be donating the use of Britannia to the Britannia Trust for up 3 months a year, and given as a gift to 50-60 charities a year as a floating venue to help raise funds for charities internationally.
The vision of The Britannia Trust is to manage and operate the Britannia yacht in such a way as to optimise her legacy and history for global charitable works.
The mission of The Britannia Trust is to change lives for the better through individual experiences with the Britannia and other classic vessels. In so doing the Trust will build a lasting legacy and establish Britannia and other classic yachts as worthy stories to be told and advocated around the world. Thereby maximizing this fleet of yachts for charity and enhancing their existing legacies.
The Britannia Trust is managed by a team of committed people who share common values of integrity, transparency, stewardship and committed relationship.
The Britannia Trust is in process of being registered as a discretionary, charitable trust in the United Kingdom.
It is envisaged that a competent Board of Trustees will manage, direct and oversee the operations, governance, finance, legal and audit processes of the Trust in accordance with globally accepted corporate governance rules and regulations within the non-profit sectors of the market. The Board of Trustees will consist of between 3-5 Trustees.
The Board of Trustees will appoint a small Executive Committee that will be responsible for the day to day operations of the Britannia Trust and its charitable works. This Executive Committee will be appointed by the Founding Trustees in due course.
The Board of Trustees will also have the right to appoint non-executive, Honorary Trustees on an ad hoc basis.
The Britannia Trust will be governed within the parameters of globally accepted corporate governance rules and regulations. As the Trust will be UK domiciled, it will be subject to English law, corporate and trust governance, and will submit regulatory and compliance documentation and financial statements as required under English law on an annual basis. The ethos of the Britannia Trust is to apply total transparency to all aspects of the Trust and to maintain the highest standards of integrity expected of a charitable organization.
All legal matters which can be facilitated in-house.
The full Administration components of the Trust will be undertaken by the Administration Division. This will include activities such as invoicing, debtors/creditors, daily banking, as well as general trust services that are required from time to time to keep the Trust fully compliant at all times.
The Operations department will be responsible for all operational activities, , sailing, training, logistics, etc., pertaining to the activities of the Trust’s fleet during charity use.
The ExCo, under mandate from the Trustees, will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Britannia Trust and all it’s activities.
The Britannia Trust’s charity purpose is to bring to life legendary yachts and use them for charity, whether full-time or part time. Starting with the charity’s flagship, Britannia, which will be used up to 3 months a year by the charity, then throughout the remainder of the year other classic yachts of all sizes will be used by the charity exclusively for projects geared towards maritime education, aiding veterans, emergency service personnel, and challenged youth.
These yachts must be legendary and bring a remembrance of a world where nobility and honor were the norm. The goal of the charity is to transform lives using the history of the yachts and the men and women who sailed them. Their stories will give those that are involved with their legacies the courage to follow in their footsteps, fighting against all odds to achieve their dreams.
The Britannia Trust will use the following avenues:
Nobility is something lost in today’s world, the trust will use the history of the Britannia and her contemporaries to encourage those ready to learn about the Maritime history connected to these vessels to impassion youth, taking normal individuals and implanting a part of the past into their lives to help develop their character by introducing them to the Britannia’s noble heritage. We cannot change the whole world, but we can change one person at a time, heart by heart, giving experience & knowledge and developing character that is connected, maturity and nobility in people’s lives.
Within this context, Britannia’s crew will touch the lives of many young and old the world over, telling them the story of these classic yachts and their maritime history.
The charity will have the honor to serve those that have served our country, through inviting them to take part in the Britannia’s activities. Whether that is sailing with her crew or giving them an opportunity to play a part in selected regattas, or simply giving them time where they are treated as a king in recognition of their sacrifice of service. For these who have risked so much it is our chance to give them a moment in time that they will never forget.
Just as with war veterans, the charity will have the honor to serve those that have served their cities and counties in sacrificial roles, through inviting them to take part in the Britannia’s activities. We will work along side existing charities to play this part, working within their curriculum. Whether that is sailing with her crew or giving them an opportunity to play a part in selected regattas, or simply giving them time where they are treated as a king in recognition of their sacrifice of service. For these who have risked so much it is our chance to give them a moment in time that they will never forget.
Our goal is to take challenged youth and give them unequaled experiences with the Britannia and other Yachts her equal. Getting involved with the craftsmen as apprentices and later her crew, from learning maritime skills and growing in their understanding of what it takes to have a winning united team, to using practical sailing skills to help develop their inner talents and gifts, giving them confidence and stability within their lives through learning respect for others the sea and themselves, and learning the disciplines that come with sustaining the vessel, etc., all of which will work toward giving them a greater likelihood of living productive and happy lives. We will work alongside of exisiting charities that working in these areas.
During the months the Britannia is not being used by the Trust for charity projects, it will furthermore be used as a marvelous floating charity event destination, and it is envisaged that she will be used around the world for exciting and elegant maritime themed fundraising events for charities internationally. In addition to leveraging the Britannia’s global appeal there are a number of features that will be used to market her as a darling of the world such as:
The Britannia is the only replica/remake of the original Britannia sailing yacht. Indeed, the original Britannia was known as “The King’s yacht” The Britannia will be operated as carbon consciously as possible, and will ensure that its carbon footprint is neutral, thereby giving it a “green yacht” appeal and raising awareness of marine environmental issues.
Indeed, the world will want to hear her story, see her in motion again, and hear her sails against the wind just as the original Britannia did so many decades ago.
The Britannia will once again race… this time for charity in some of the major sailing races/regattas around the world on the behalf of charity, sponsored and paid for by corporate spend.
The Britannia Trust is already in the process of strategizing high-exposure at international events that will attract global attention for charity. A specific program for each event will be planned, and a detailed marketing and promotional event package will be compiled to discuss with committed Partners, loyalty program Members, Sponsors and the like.
Whilst lives will be changed by individual experiences of sailing on the Britannia and other classic yachts, the Trust’s goal is to establish a lifelong association with The Britannia as her flagship. The trust is in the process of creating a K1 community.
As an example, K1 Kids will be a community for young people that encourages lifelong associations with the Britannia, and in addition provides an environment for creating new and lasting friendships as a result of the kids’ experiences and involvement with the Britannia.
Furthermore K1 Kids will provide a forum for educating young people in the historical, legacy and noble aspects related to the Britannia as well as raising their awareness of global oceanic environmental issues.
In addition, it is envisioned that K1 Kids will engender an interest and passion for sailing.
The Charity will only pay basic costs for the charity crew and fuel during the use of these classic historical yachts. The use of the yachts themselves will be a gift from the owners. And the trust will endeavor on getting all other costs gifted to the project.
This program is aimed at establishing long term, (3 to 5 year) sponsorship commitments from a very small number of prestigious and like minded corporate organizations within specific industry sectors that engage with the Britannia Trust as strategic sponsors of The Trust. The ethos of these organizations will be one of sharing the vision and values of The Trust whilst also recognizing the unique added value to their organizations as a result of the exclusive affiliation with this noblest of British projects. In return for their sponsorship commitments this select group of organisations will secure exclusive multi-year rights to the use of the Britannia for global corporate events that can integrate into their corporate lifestyle promotion and marketing strategies.
These programs will be designed, structured and launched to enable corporations to sponsor and support the Trust and will be provided with potential opportunities to co-brand with the Britannia Trust in order to help with its charitable causes.
Conditional and Unconditional grants could be negotiated, with benefits such as co-hosting of events and complimentary charters.
The Britannia Trust could design and structure a loyalty program incorporating Honorary, Platinum, Gold and Silver Memberships as well as Guest Memberships of the “Britannia Club” or similar that will provide certain agreed benefits and loyalty rewards to Members in respect of their activities surrounding the Britannia and Fleet.
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